RECENT EAST-WEST CENTER PUBLICATIONS

February 26, 2001

The following are new titles from the East-West Center and by East-West Center staff. Ordering information and abstracts of the publications appear after the listing of titles.

§ The Riel Value of Money: How the World’s Only Attempt to Abolish Money Has Hindered Cambodia’s Economic Development, by Sheridan T. Prasso. AsiaPacific Issues, No. 49, January 2001.

§ Undermining the WTO: The Case Against ‘Open Sectoralism,’ by Vinod K. Aggarwal and John Ravenhill. AsiaPacific Issues, No. 50. February 2001.

The Riel Value of Money: How the World’s Only Attempt to Abolish Money Has Hindered Cambodia’s Economic Development, by Sheridan T. Prasso. AsiaPacific Issues, No. 49, January 2001. 8 pp. Printed hard copy available for $2.50 plus shipping/handling. Free downloadable pdf file located at http://www.EastWestCenter.org/stored/pdfs/api049.pdf

There are significant reasons why Cambodia has failed to establish a solid and stable economy, including the fact that most of its professionals and educated elite perished in the 1975-79 period under the Khmer Rouge. But one reason that has not been fully considered is this: Cambodia is the only country in the world ever to have abolished money. Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge, abolished money, markets, and private property, blowing up the Central Bank to underscore his point. As a result, although the reissued Cambodian riel has been in circulation for almost two decades, Cambodians remain distrustful of it and regularly convert their riel into gold, jewelry, or U.S. dollars instead. This practice perpetuates the ineffectiveness of Cambodia’s financial institutions, banking systems, and regulatory agencies. Cambodia needs to adopt a strong single currency-not necessarily its own-as the prevailing means of exchange or it will remain one of the least developed, most impoverished nations in the world.

Undermining the WTO: The Case Against ‘Open Sectoralism,’ by Vinod K. Aggarwal and John Ravenhill. AsiaPacific Issues, No. 50. February 2001. 6 pp. Printed hard copy available for $2.50 plus shipping/handling. Free downloadable pdf file located at http://www.EastWestCenter.org/stored/pdfs/api050.pdf

With challenges mounting to the World Trade Organization’s agenda of broad-based multilateral trade liberalization, many U.S. trade analysts are arguing for a less ambitious approach. They extol the virtues of reducing barriers to trade along sectoral lines, citing past successes in telecommunications, financial services, and information technology. But this sector-by-sector approach to liberalizing trade (termed open sectoralism in this paper) is fraught with political and economic hazards. Open sectoralism has actually reduced political support for multisector trade negotiations that would benefit a significantly broader group of industries and consumers. Moreover, by liberalizing only highly competitive sectors, it bolsters the least efficient sectors of the economy. Ironically, at the same time that open sectoralism is the subject of unadulterated praise, protectionist sectoral measures are derided. Yet by buying off narrow and powerful protectionist interests, these arrangements have often cleared the way for comprehensive multilateral trade negotiations of the kind so clearly needed now.

Of related interest:

§ Trade Relations of Korea and Japan: Moving from Conflict to Cooperation? by William E. James. East-West Center Working Papers, Economics Series, No. 11. January 2001. 32 pp. Paper, $3.00 plus shipping/handling.

Search the East-West Center website at http://www.EastWestCenter.org/res-rp-asearch.asp for other publications by the East-West Center and its staff.

To order the paper referenced above, contact the East-West Center Publication Sales Office at ewcbooks@EastWestCenter.org 

East-West Center Publication Sales Office 1601 East-West Road Honolulu, HI 96848-1601 USA Tel: (808) 944-7145 Fax: (808) 944-7376

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